Gathering highlights message of unity
Unification Church leader Sun Myung Moon calls for
reconciliation during national tour.
April 10, 2001
In an effort to forge partnerships with local black
churches, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon was in Indianapolis on Monday
night preaching about the oneness of Christian faith and his
familiar message of world unity.
Flanked by local black preachers, Indianapolis
members of the Nation of Islam and a traveling team of urban
evangelists, he called for racial reconciliation,
interdenominational cooperation and strong families.
"When each of you enter the spirit world after this
world, there will be no ethnic divide and no denomination, no
color barrier," Moon said, speaking to about 600 people at First
Christian Missionary Baptist Church, 6190 E. 38th St.
"You will enter the family of God, which is what I
see right now in this audience -- one family, my family."
The 81-year-old Korean-born preacher founded the
Unification Church in 1954 and has spent the past 47 years
preaching and working toward world unity -- with the promotion of
intermarriage being one of his methods.
Moon has founded dozens of agencies to carry out his
message, including the Interreligious International Federation for
World Peace, which brought him to Indianapolis. His one-day visit
was part of a 51-city nationwide blitz that began in February and
ends Monday in Washington.
But Moon has been using national tours to promote
his church for nearly two decades, said Anson Shupe, an Indiana
University-Purdue University Fort Wayne sociologist who has
studied the Unification Church since the 1970s.
At first glance, the alliance of six black Baptist
and Pentecostal churches in Indianapolis with the Unification
Church looks like a strange marriage. But add the presence of
local leaders of the Nation of Islam at the Indianapolis rally,
and the relationship begins to look vaguely familiar.
Last October, Moon joined the Million Family March,
the latest in a series of religious demonstrations organized by
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
Black churches, particularly those in urban
neighborhoods, joined the Nation of Islam in that march and the
more famous Million Man March in 1995. The call to family renewal,
cultural pride and spiritual discipline was hard to argue with,
said Elder Lionel Rush of Indianapolis. He supported the Million
Man March, and he's endorsing Moon's campaign, We Will Stand!
"I am hear to support and honor a world leader who
is willing to work across denominational lines to help solve some
of the most deadly problems plaguing our communities," said Rush,
pastor of Greater Harvest Institutional Church of God in Christ in
"The city and the nation have too many problems for
us to start shooting at the man who is willing to help solve the
Rush was referring to 30-year-old allegations that
the Unification Church is a cult. But Shupe, who has written
several books about Moon and his followers, said it just isn't so.
Instead, he calls the church a multi-million-dollar
"Moon and his followers are not like the Branch
Davidians, or Jim Jones or Heaven's Gate," Shupe said, listing
three of the most notorious cults. "It is too big and too public
to fit the cult definition."
To support this, Shupe notes Moon's purchase of
The Washington Times newspaper in the 1980s and financial
support of conservative politicians.
The Rev. Linda Triggol, pastor of the local
Unification congregation, Indianapolis Family Church, said
Monday's revival is the kick-off of a new ministry alliance.
She is working with Rush, the Rev. Damon Roach of
First Christian Missionary Baptist Church, and other congregations
to offer marriage and family seminars and youth workshops.
Contact Judith Cebula at (317) 444-6237 or via
e-mail at mailto:email@example.com